A Walmart coupon allowing customers to receive 40 percent off their purchases went viral recently, drawing the attention of quite a few people on Facebook.
The only problem is that it is reportedly a fake coupon, another sample of an ongoing fraudulent coupon scam that victimizes many consumers during the busiest shopping season of the year.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of this particular Walmart coupon scam is that, according to its printed description, consumers could receive 40 percent off “all purchases in store.”
At first glance, the Walmart coupon may look authentic. The overall format of the coupon and several printed elements within it (such as the font) are consistent with authentic coupons from the major retailer. In addition to the bar-code and Walmart company logo, there is also a block of fine print specifying the limit of “one coupon or offer per guest.”
Consumers are also driven by the sense of urgency presented by the December 31 expiration date. Perhaps that is the reason why so many people are sharing this 40 percent off coupon on their personal Facebook profiles.
However, there are several warning signs within this suspicious Walmart coupon scam post that should serve as a red flag for skeptical consumers.
For example, the website link connected to this coupon post has a domain of “walmart.com-team.pw.” instead of the official company website domain.
The “Get your gift coupon” caption essentially invites consumers to click the link so that they can receive their “free 40% off voucher now.”
However, depending on the security settings of their web browser, clicking the actual link may lead to a warning message informing them of the suspicious and potentially dangerous nature of the website.
For example, below is a screenshot of the “deceptive site ahead” prompt that appears in Google Chrome.
This is definitely not the first time that a fraudulent Walmart coupon scam has made waves on Facebook and other social media platforms.
In late November, days before Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana posted a warning message of its own on Facebook. Within the post, they alerted consumers of the fraudulent 50 percent off Walmart coupons that were being shared online.
Within the photo caption, the law enforcement office informed consumers to not fall for the deceptive coupon trap.
“If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Such is the case with these FAKE coupons people have been sharing… Protect yourself and your friends from becoming the next victim! Before clicking on a random link for an unbelievable deal you found on Facebook, try verifying the deal on another website. These scammers are COUNTING on you not wanting to pass up a deal! Do NOT re-post, like or share these posts. If you have already posted or shared, please delete from your timeline. #FacebookScam”
Using and sharing fraudulent Walmart coupons with friends on Facebook will apparently lead to a lot more than just frustrated consumers and potentially embarrassing shopping trips. According to CNET, the fake Walmart coupon is specifically designed to go viral as online bait that could possibly do the following.
- Install malware on your device
- Spam all of your friends’ pages with fake coupon ads
- Require you to fill out numerous surveys and sign up for unwanted services, or
- All of the above
As reported by the Independent Journal, it’s always good to check the company’s official website or social media pages for coupons, promotional codes, and official offers. Neither of these suspicious Walmart coupons (40/50 percent off vouchers) are posted or advertised within Walmart’s online section for legitimate coupons, nor the official company Facebook page.
Receiving 40 percent off of any Walmart purchase could save the average consumer a substantial amount of money. For example, this type of savings would allow you to fill a shopping cart with $2,000 worth of merchandise, and only have to pay nearly $1,200 for it.
It is not surprising why so many people enjoy clicking on these apparently fake Walmart coupons and quickly sharing them with their friends, as well. An old saying to keep in mind is that “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is” before getting too excited about such a suspicious savings opportunity.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]